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British Columbia Car Insurance

British Columbia is the westernmost point of Canada and a driver’s paradise. Scenic routes, beautiful cities, and all the sky you could need. Home to four million people, the province is part of the Pacific Northwest with U.S. states such as Washington and Alaska.

Unfortunately, drivers have to pay a lot to insure a vehicle in one of the most beautiful locations in the world. BC is the second most expensive insurance market in Canada, so shopping around for coverage becomes hugely important.

That means you have come to the right place. can help you find the best possible policy at the most affordable price. It is also important to understand the auto insurance market in British Columbia, so below you will find all the valuable information and tips to help you get the best deal.

Auto insurance in British Columbia

The most significant aspect of car insurance in British Columbia is how insurance is provided. Unlike other major market provinces in Canada, BC does not operate a private insurance model. Instead, auto coverage is provided by the provincial government.

Let’s compare this model to the one employed in Ontario:

Ontario – Insurance is provided by private companies that work independently from any government. There are certain regulatory guidelines, but customers can shop for the best possible deal from numerous companies

British Columbia – In BC, insurance is provided by a government-run Crown corporation and customers must purchase mandatory policies through this company. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is the default company from where all standard policies are issued.

This means motorists in BC have little choice in where they buy their coverage, and it has been this way since 1973. That does not necessarily mean the private market is dead in the province, customers can still purchase auto insurance additional benefits such as fire, collision coverage, and theft from private companies.



How does the ICBC decide my premium?

While the ICBC is government-run, it still operates like any other insurance company. This means it uses the same determining factors as private providers when assessing how much a customer should pay for their policy:

  • Age and gender
  • Driving experience
  • Driving record
  • Type of vehicle
  • Level of coverage needed
  • Intended vehicle use and location

Prohibitive cost of insurance in BC

Despite a government led insurance market, British Columbia is the second most expensive province in Canada. As our provincial guide shows, the average cost of auto insurance in British Columbia is $1,237, a figure that is a full $200 above third-placed Alberta ($1,086).

The important question to ask is why BC is such an expensive market, especially when the government has more control over regulations?

Unfortunately, BC has many of the same problems as Ontario, albeit on a lesser scale. Like Canada’s most expensive car insurance market ($1,551), BC is plagued by rampant fraud, which contributes negatively to the average price of premiums. Other reasons include tight mandatory minimum liability controls and generous accident benefits regulations.

Will car insurance rates in British Columbia fall soon?

While Ontario is meeting its premium cost crisis head on, British Columbia is struggling to manage spiralling costs. Instead of rates falling, there has been a gradual trend of premium increases in recent years. Since 2012, auto insurance premiums have increased by at least 4.0% in each year. In 2012, rates increased 11.2% and in 2016 they increased 4.9%. ICBC says increased claims and collisions are behind the raises.

Auto insurance requirements in British Columbia

With high rates that are continuing to increase, BC is a cocktail of financial worry for anyone who wants to insure a vehicle. Needless to say, auto insurance is mandatory in the province for any person who purchases a vehicle.

This mandatory coverage can be the basic level policy offered by ICBC:

  • $200,000 in third-party liability insurance: covers both bodily injury and property damage. Within this amount, property damage will be capped at $20,000.
  • Underinsured motorist protection: up to $1 million per person.
  • Medical coverage: up to $150,000 per person.
  • Hit-and-run coverage: up to $200,000.
  • Inverse liability coverage: this insurance covers you when the local laws don't let you make a claim against the at-fault party.
  • The coverage is up to 100% of the claim, but it accounts for the degree you're partially at-fault. If you're 25% at-fault, you receive only 75% of the covered costs.

Affordable auto insurance in British Columbia


Because of the province run model, customers cannot shop around to get the best deal on the basic level of mandatory coverage. However, shopping around for additional policy benefits is a wonderful way to ensure you get more complete coverage at the most affordable price possible.

If you want to get the best deal on mandatory coverage from ICBC, you can make sure you take some easy step to keep rates low:

  • Maintain a clean driving history
  • Appeal to ICBC with winter tire use
  • Pay premiums on time
  • Participate in and complete driving programs



Car Insurance Premium By Province


 Newfoundland and Labrador


 Northwest Territories


 New Brunswick


 Nova Scotia

 Prince Edward Island

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